Saturday, June 25, 2011

Getting to Know Ribs

Dinner: June 23

It seems I know little about the anatomy of a cow.

I bought ribs at the store this week, as they were on sale, and I got two pounds of healthy-looking ribs for about $4.50. Sweet! They were beef back ribs, and they looked like regular ol’ ribs to me.

Clearly, there is a difference between beef back ribs and nice, meaty short ribs. I discovered that when I went to eat them and had to spend so much time digging through fat to find the littlest pieces of meat that it was disappointing and frustrating. I should probably take a meat class at a local teaching kitchen.

Anyway, I’ll explain the dinner. I did a basic search on the internet for oven-baked ribs and found this recipe. It looked simple enough, so I purchased the rest of the ingredients and went to work. Obviously, I cut the recipe in half because I only had two pounds of beef, errr bones with fat and a little beef. But I digress.

The best part of the recipe was that I was excited to try out my new Fontignac cast iron cocotte, which my mom purchased for me as an early birthday present during her last visit. I kept it clean atop my stove for awhile, looking at it and wondering what I would cook in it for its inaugural meal. While this didn’t wind up being the best choice, the pot worked its magic! I was able to start the meal on the stove and put the entire pot with lid into the oven to finish it. It was sure a heavy sucker, especially filled with food, but it was amazing! I loved using it, and it cleaned so easily, I couldn’t believe it. I love my cocotte!

On with the recipe…

Basics:  Coated ribs with salt, pepper, and flour. Browned them in olive oil in the pot, added chopped onions, garlic, and parsley. Added brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and beef broth. Brought to boil and transferred to 325 degree oven for 90 minutes. Added pearl onions and baby carrots, reduced hear to 250 degrees, and baked for another hour.

Meh. As I mentioned, there wasn’t much meat on the ribs. What was there was juicy and tender, but it was too hard to access. The vegetables, however, were very good, as pearl onions and carrots were the perfect additions to the one-pot meal. But in the end, the disappointment in the ribs made the meal mostly a flop.

Another lesson learned. Either figure out my cow parts before I shop or ask a butcher to help pick the proper meat. And probably expect that if I’m getting super cheap meat, there’s a catch - like not much meat around them bones.

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